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5 Common Apple Pencil Problems and How to Fix Them

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Understanding why the Apple Pencil doesn’t work can be tricky, but with out list of how to fix Apple Pencil problems you can solve issues and errors and get back to writing with your fancy stylus.

The Apple Pencil has no buttons, displays or indicators, which can solving a problem appear hard, but the simplicity of the device actually makes fixing problems a straightforward experience.

My Apple Pencil Doesn’t Work

Has your Apple Pencil ever worked? If not, you likely need to pair it with your iPad. Or, it may be paired with another iPad in your house, and you need to connect it to your iPad.

Pairing the Apple Pencil to your iPad is simple. Take the cap of the top end and insert the Apple Pencil into the charging port of your iPad. You’ll see a pop up notification asking if you want to pair the Pencil with the iPad. Tap on the pop up to agree. The Apple Pencil should now start working with your iPad.

If the Apple Pencil doesn’t work, or you don’t see the pop up, you need to check to see if your iPad supports the Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil works with the 2018 iPad 9.7-inch and with all iPad Pro models. It does not work with any older models.

Apple-iPad-Pro-Bluetooth-settings

My Apple Pencil Stopped Working

Now you know what to do if your Apple Pencil doesn’t work. But what about if it stopped working after using it for some time.

The first thing you need to do is tighten the tip of the Pencil. Hold the Pencil in one hand and then twist the tip clockwise to tighten it. Even if the tip looks like it is solidly in place, you may need to tighten it to make it work again.

Next up, check to make sure Bluetooth is turned on. You might accidentally turn off Bluetooth or turn on AirPlane mode. Swipe to open Control Center and then tap on the Bluetooth logo, it looks like a B, and make sure it is on. It should be blue it if it is on.

Another potential issue is that your Apple Pencil battery might be dead. To fix this, take the cap off your Apple Pencil and plug the Pencil into the Lightning port at the bottom of your iPad. Leave it there for a few minutes and then try using it. If that fixes it, you should charge it more soon, but you can start working right away. Just 15 seconds of charging is enough for 30 minutes of use, but you should top it off soon.

If everything else doesn’t work, you may need to delete the Apple Pencil from your iPad and then re-pair it.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap on Bluetooth
  3. Tap on the I next to Apple Pencil. 
  4. Tap on Forget this Device.
  5. If asked, confirm tap on Forget this Device again.

Once that is done, plug your Apple Pencil into the iPad and when prompted tap on the option to pair it.

Another simple step to try is restarting your iPad. Sometimes things just stop working, and turning it off and back on will fix it.

Hold the power button until there is an option to turn off the iPad. Do this and wait a minute or so while it turns off. Once it is done, wait a second or two and then hold the power button to turn it on. If this doesn’t fix it, you may need to pair the Apple Pencil as outlined above.

If none of the above steps work, you’ll probably have to get a new Apple Pencil. You can take it back to the store you purchased it from, if new, or head into an Apple retail store where they’ll probably just exchange it for a new one if it is under warranty.

I Can’t Tell How Much Apple Pencil Battery Life is Left

Apple-Pencil-battery-life

Apple hides the Apple Pencil battery life indicator in the Notification Center of the iPad.

To see it, you need to unlock your iPad and open the Notification Center by swiping down. Now you can swipe to the left to the Today View and look at the Batteries widget to see how much Apple Pencil battery life is left. If you don’t see that widget, you can add it.

  1. Tap on the edit button at the bottom of the today view.
  2. Tap on the Batteries widget.
  3. Tap and hold on the three lines and drag it up towards the top of your listings.

This will now show you the Apple Pencil battery life, as well as other Bluetooth devices at a glance.

The Apple Pencil Isn’t Writing As Good As It Was

Over time the Apple Pencil tip can degrade and stop working as good as it once did. If you use it a lot you will need to replace it earlier than other users.

  1. Hold the Apple Pencil in one hand.
  2. Turn the tip counter clockwise until it comes off.
  3. Install a new Apple Pencil tip by turning clockwise.

Apple includes a second tip in the Apple Pencil box. If you’ve already used that, or you’ve lost it, you can buy a four pack from Apple or Best Buy for $19.99.

My Apple Pencil Doesn’t Work in This App

The Apple Pencil works in all iPad apps to select items like you can with your finger, but it may not work like you expect in every app.

If you cannot draw or write with the Apple Pencil, check to see if the app supports handwriting. Some apps may not support handwriting, and you might need to use the keyboard or look for a new app.

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You can use the new iPad Smart Cover to prop up the iPad in landscape orientation to watch a movie or use it to play a game and FaceTime. You can also use the stand to prop it up at a nice angle for typing. 

The new iPad smart cover is available in five colors, including Product RED, and you can expect to see more colors added over time. 

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Roberta Coren

    01/25/2016 at 7:37 am

    I find after I’ve paired my pencil it interferes with my ability to use previously paired items, like my Bose speaker for example. It also causes my podcast app to freeze. Even after I’ve unpaired the pencil and “forgot my device” it still give me trouble, I still have to reboot my iPad and occasionally I have to do a hard restart. This issue happens after every time I have paired my pencil. It’s very frustrating and too much time is wasted on this. Any suggestions? It’s a new pencil because my first one stopped working after 1 day. It hardly seems worth the effort/

    • J.R. Nelson

      01/28/2016 at 6:31 pm

      Whoa, that’s a pretty strange problem! I wonder if something is wrong with your specific iPad Pro, rather than the Pencil itself? I haven’t encountered any issues, and I stream to my Bluetooth headphones a lot while using the Pencil.

  2. Oscar

    01/26/2016 at 9:33 am

    Mine pairs, charges and will open, close, select items so I can see it is functioning but it will not write. Tried new tip, tried repairing, rebooting etc but same problem….no lines/drawing/text in any relevant app such as Notes or Mail. Did I get a dud?

    • J.R. Nelson

      01/28/2016 at 6:32 pm

      Unfortunately, it sounds like you might have.

  3. Andrew Kin Wai Tsang

    01/28/2016 at 3:33 pm

    Mine stopped working after a week for no reason and i tried all the above steps. It is so annoying waiting 5 weeks for a replacement. I really hope i just got a dud and that it is not a common problem as i got the ipad pro just for the pencil and art apps. I took real good care of mine and carried it around in its original box and barely used it.i wish there was a hover cursor for better accuracy when using large brush sizes…the apps on ios are what really impress me so respect to the talented app developers…i love android for some things…but the app market still pales in comparison to the IOS app market. I think the lag on my wacom intuos is slightly faster for sketching…but i haven’t really had much time to try large brush sizes in different apps to see if it performs faster than my intuos.

    • J.R. Nelson

      01/28/2016 at 6:33 pm

      If you’ve got an Apple retail store near you, you should stop buy and tell them your issues – even though Pencil stocks are still slightly limited, most of the time Apple keeps spares of devices in stores to swap out malfunctioning customer devices – even if they “don’t have any in stock” there’s probably a few in back for this exact reason.

  4. [email protected]

    02/05/2016 at 10:12 am

    My apple pencil seems to have a more obvious latency delay after only using it for a few days. I did drop it once but it does still work. I changed to the new tip and it still has the latency delay. Could I have damaged it only with a latency problem?

  5. Wouter

    02/11/2016 at 12:38 pm

    My Pencil also stopped connecting as well…it connects when stuck into the Lightning port, but is locked at 74% charged. Strange..anybody has a tip ?

  6. William

    02/13/2016 at 1:59 pm

    My is ☠

    Expensive gadget! Light durability!

  7. Steven

    04/04/2016 at 12:43 pm

    Found a elegant wood case that holds the pencil, the cap, and the lighting adapter. I found it here:https://www.antiquecharacter.biz

  8. Jamie

    04/19/2016 at 3:25 pm

    Pencil cannot be used while it is charging; this caught me out today when I tried using my pencil with a flat battery and it wasn’t working (scratching head) so i plugged it into charge but it still wouldn’t work… unplugged it for charge cable after a few minutes and it started working.

  9. Samie-Jo

    05/24/2016 at 3:29 am

    Purchased an Apple Pencil today. Paired it to iPad Pro. It worked for about 30 seconds. I followed all the above steps. It’s connected and I can view how much charge it has, but it just won’t do anything. Left it for a while, charged it, did everything you could think of. Returned it to the store I bought it from, got a replacement straight away. This one did the same thing. Also as above mention mine is stuck on 74%. I’m not sure if it the pencil or my iPad Pro. But I have only had the iPad for around a month.

  10. jonathan

    05/30/2016 at 1:38 pm

    Recently bought iPad pro and pencil. It activates some functions including keyboard but won’t draw or write. I bought a spare whilst on holiday and it had the same problem…have tried re-booting and re pairing all as recommended. Any further ideas??

    • Twin Mom

      06/16/2018 at 3:52 am

      While in the Notes app be sure you are not using your notes under the ICLOUD folder. Switch to your carrier’s folder (in my case it’s AT&T). You should now have the ability to chose your drawing palette. Not really sure for other apps as this was the only one not allowing me to draw with the Apple pen. Hope this helps.

  11. Needs2Cash

    06/09/2016 at 5:10 am

    Kindly advise how to see the iPencil listed with the devices in Procreate. It lists Adonit Jot, Pencil by FiftyThree, Pogo Connect and Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus…

    …but not my iPencil despite it being paired with my iPad Pro.

  12. Shivy

    06/17/2016 at 10:17 am

    I’ve had my pencil for a while, but only now has it stopped working. It’s stuck at 17% and won’t charge. I tried the Bluetooth reconnecting thing and “forgot” this pencil, but now it’s not pairing with the device, for I haven’t received any notification that it has.
    So now I have a pencil that won’t charge OR connect with my iPad Pro. I’m probably gonna have to replace it.

  13. Koen

    07/04/2016 at 10:13 am

    I tried and I tried. Pairing went ok, fully charged etc. The pencil was recognized, but still I could not write on the iPad. I was almost returning to the store when I screwed the tip of the pen a bit tighter and then it worked. Maybe this is also worth testing…

  14. LadyGadget

    08/22/2016 at 1:06 pm

    Tightening the tip worked!!!!! After rebooting, I un-pairing and re-pairing, I simply loosed and re-tightened the tip. SUCCESS

  15. Rurik Halaby

    09/19/2016 at 1:25 pm

    I really enjoy my pencil, but have two problems with it. Once in a while it goes to sleep even if full. To wake it up you plug it in for a second or two and that wakes it up. The other problem is that with design trumping function it has no clip to secure it to your shirt pocket. I did find a purveyor of clips but it looks like hell. Too bad.

  16. James

    09/26/2016 at 1:25 am

    When Apple Pencil is paired with my iPad Pro it causes the wifi to keeping dropping out despit full signal and in same room as router. Wifi is perfectly stable until I connect the pencil and then it keeps disconnecting. When it drops out often it does not reconnect automatically. I have to go to settings and press on my network to rejoin. Sometimes this works and it reconnects and sometimes it repeatedly asks for my wifi password despite entering the correct password.

    It is extremely irritating. I have heard of other people experience same issue when pairing other Bluetooth devices but no solutions to the problem have been found.

  17. camilomf

    11/15/2016 at 2:53 pm

    THANK YOU! I was about to give up after reading and trying all suggestions in another troubleshooting article online. Turned out my TIP WAS LOOSE! I had tried pushing and pulling on the tip before, used as I am to my other “pencil,” by fortythree. I wasn’t aware of the screw-on, very fine ridges of Apple’s pencil. What’s next? Am I turning into one of those people that call customer service after forgetting to push an “ON” switch?

  18. Khurrum

    12/01/2016 at 9:26 am

    My pencil is working fine, but one thing I need to know..
    I used to switch off Bluetooth, WiFi before turning iPad screen off. Even though my pencil is paired, but every time I switch ON Bluetooth, I’ve to plug pencil in the iPad port for connection.. Is this the correct way to plug pencil all the time you need to use it. Second option is that I keep my Bluetooth ON for all times. Are you all operate pencil like this?

    Thanks and Regards,
    KAK

  19. Christopher DeGrace

    12/02/2016 at 11:40 am

    Does anyone have a problem with your pencil “skipping” while you write and the Ipad is charging? At least it seems to be far worse while charging. Basically I’ll be drawing a character and there are just random gaps in the drawing.

  20. Mey V

    12/12/2016 at 10:45 am

    My apple pencil freezes up when i go to write with it. The ap im in locks up then i have to get out of it and reboot…..anyone know how to fix this?

  21. Kenn

    12/21/2016 at 10:27 am

    Deleting and repairing in Bluetooth worked for me. Took me out of panick mode. Thanks much for your article.

  22. Joakim G

    12/24/2016 at 6:18 pm

    So yeah got mine for Christmas, had problems pairing when it suddenly worked! Immediately started “sketches pro” and were able to click the color palette and make a few lines before it just stopped working. It pairs and show full charge (now…) on the battery widget, but doesn’t work at all. Tightened tip, tried spare. Disconnected/”forgot device”, rebooted and tried it all at random for hours. Guess I’ll have to take it back, but it’s holidays. And the thing did work!

    What’s the deal with these???

  23. PierreDC

    03/05/2017 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks. In my case, I had to forget the device, which I didn’t dare to do before I read this. It worked.

  24. Ruba

    03/14/2017 at 2:59 am

    My apple pencil reaches 100% within one minute but once I unplug it show that the battery is very low … I tried leaving it to charge over night but it didn’t work .. I charged it using both the IPad Pro and tried a wall charger too .. but neither worked .. I tried rebooting the I pad , unpairing and pairing it agian

  25. Glenn Dale Desquitado

    04/17/2017 at 5:25 am

    my apple pencil works fine on most of the areas of my ipad but when I use it on a particular part ( specifically, a long vertical line 3 inches away from the right bezel) it refuses to register any input from the apple pencil. What could be the problem? someone please help

  26. John H. Taylor

    07/24/2017 at 2:36 pm

    my apple pencil only works of held straight up and down?

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